Clinical Value of Patient-Specific Three-Dimensional Printing of Kidney Before Partial Nephrectomy: A Qualitative Assessment

J Endourol. 2021 Sep;35(9):1405-1410. doi: 10.1089/end.2020.1103. Epub 2021 Aug 16.


Objectives: To qualitatively assess the clinical usefulness of patient-specific high-fidelity three-dimensional (3D) print model of kidney before partial nephrectomy (PN) and to identify subset domains where it may help in clinical terms. Materials and Methods: Thirteen 3D models were printed for tumors having RENAL nephrometry score of ≥8. Their usage for PN was assessed prospectively using a qualitative questionnaire to be answered on a Likert scale of 1-10. The questions focused on realistic resemblance, preoperative dry surgical run, intertest comparison, surgical impact, and overall beneficence domains as perceived by primary surgeons with respect to surgical conduct during PN. Results: Mean RENAL score was 9.15 (8-11). Models were rated high (9.07 ± 0.86) for realistic resemblance domain and were rated better than contrast-enhanced computed tomography (CECT) (8.38 ± 0.87) and intraoperative ultrasonography (8.07 ± 1.26) for orientation regarding resection margins. A further marginal improvement to 8.2 ± 0.84 was noted against ultrasound where surgeon did a dry cut preoperatively. Use of superselective arterial approach in four, precise awareness about dissection of a major vessel in four, retroperitoneoscopic approach in one, and surgical margin awareness in three were directly attributed to the model. Overall utility of having a model printed was rated high (8.23 ± 1.3). Conclusion: The 3D print models of complex renal tumors have high realistic resemblance to actual patient's anatomy. They were rated better than preoperative CECT or intraoperative ultrasonography for orientation regarding surgical resection margins. It may also help change or modify the surgical plan in a subset of patients with a potential to improve overall outcomes in these complex cases.

Keywords: 3D printing; complex renal tumors; partial nephrectomy; quality assessment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Kidney / diagnostic imaging
  • Kidney / surgery
  • Kidney Neoplasms* / diagnostic imaging
  • Kidney Neoplasms* / surgery
  • Nephrectomy*
  • Printing, Three-Dimensional
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed